There is nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the highway with a flat tire. While you might prefer to leave changing your flat to a professional, there may be a time you will have to do it yourself. We recommend being prepared with the right products and knowledge in the event that you need to change your own tire. Here are few things to keep in your car to make this unexpected task a little smoother.
Turn your hazard lights on. Pull out of traffic, and find a firm, safe and stable surface to change your tire. If possible, do not park on dirt or grass – your jack may sink into the dirt and become unstable. For safety precautions, avoid hills to prevent your car from rolling.
Before you change a flat, turn off your engine and engage the emergency or parking brake. Keep your car from rolling by placing a wheel chock or heavy rock behind the wheels opposite side of the car that’s being raised.
If you’ve never used your jack, spare tire or tire tools before, consult with your owner’s manual to check where it is located. After you’ve found these essentials, we recommend you try them out and get familiar with how to use them, so you’re comfortable performing the next few steps in a crunch. Waiting to learn how to use your tools on a dark, rainy night can be zero fun and quite dangerous. We recommend doing a practice run when your tire is not flat so that you can get a feel for how to perform the task.
Consult with your owners manual for the best place to secure you jack. Follow these directions carefully! Crank your car up to at least 6 inches, or however much is need to remove the flat tire. If you notice instability, lower your car to reposition your jack. Caution: Never place a jack under the axle or suspension member.
Use the lug wrench to remove the nuts. Place the lug nuts where you won’t lose them like on the inside of your car door. Pull the wheel off and set it aside.
Remove the flat tire with both hands. Pull the tire towards you and place it under the car, just in case your jack is unstable and drops your car. If you have difficulty removing the tire due to rust, hit it with a rubber hammer or use a liquid penetrate to loosen the joints.
Place your spare tire in front of the wheel well, align it with the wheel bolts, and then add your lug nuts. Turn the lug nuts clockwise by hand as tightly as possible. Then take your wrench and turn the bolt tight enough to secure the tire before lower it to the ground. Do not completely tighten.
Note: There are different tightening sequences for 4- and 5 -lug wheels. Tightening the nuts in the proper sequence ensures that the wheel mounts properly and that the stress is evenly distributed over the wheel.
Slowly lower your vehicle to the ground. Remove the jack and block. Tighten the lug nuts as much as possible, in proper sequence. Caution: Many spare tires are not full-size, normal tires. These smaller spares can’t be driven at normal speeds and should only be driven for short distances. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions and warnings for driving with a compact spare.